Your preschooler can have hours of fun learning when she’s doing it through games. As a parent, you should always have several games ready to go whenever a case of the “Mom, I’m bored!” sets in. Whether you’re looking for games that are active or quite, outside or in, you’re sure to find a few favorites for your child.
Choose outdoor games that allow children to practice their gross motor skills, like running, jumping and skipping. In Mother May I, one child–or an adult–acts as the mother and tells the other children that they can take a certain number of steps, hops, jumps or other action toward her. If a child touches the mother, she can become the new mother. Tag, where one child is “It” and tries to touch the other children, is a classic game. You can change it by making it, Skip Tag. In this version, children must skip instead of run. In Alphabet Tag, a child is “safe,” if she says a word starting with a certain letter.
Board games can be good for a rainy day or for quiet time when younger siblings are taking a nap. In Candy Land, children choose cards and move their character to the square shown on the card. It helps to teach the colors. Hi-Ho Cherry Oh teaches counting by having the children count the cherries in the basket.
Video games can teach hand-eye coordination and school readiness skills, like phonics and early math. Try Cosmic Family for the Wii, which has easy games designed for kids 3 to 5. The Jump Start series of games for the computer has games that teach all kinds of early learning skills.
When you’re having a group of kids over for a party, it’s smart to plan some games to keep the kids occupied. You can play Hot Potato by sitting the children in a circle and passing an item around the circle until a timer goes off. That child is then “out.” Alternatively, kids this age enjoy playing Pin the Tail on the Animal. You can purchase or make a large sign that goes along with the theme of the party. It doesn’t have to be a tail. It can be a nose, hat or other item that the children must correctly place on the picture after you blindfold them and spin them around.
You can use games to teach a number of concepts to your child. With Hyper Dash, children must run around trying to place the controller on the correct color or number, remembering sequences at the higher levels. You can also create your own ABC Toss by placing a number of ABC flash cards on the floor and having your child toss a small item onto one of the cards. She must then say the letter or a word that begins with that letter.